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How to make your new habits stick in 2020

We are now a month into a new year and decade. How are you doing keeping up with the intentions you set for yourself for 2020? Have you managed to turn any of those intentions into new habits? Or perhaps there is a bad habit you’d like to break? Ultimately, it will be your habits that will make you succeed or fail with the intentions that you set for yourself.

During
the holidays, I spent time reviewing my mission statement and most important
roles. I created a 2020 vision board, created my goals, and set a mantra for
myself, “Inspired Focus.

Then,
I returned home from the holidays and reality kicked in. My two daughters starting
a new semester in high school and I started travelling across the country, delivering
workshops and keynotes for FranklinCovey.

It
wasn’t long before I had to take a deep breath and revisit my goals. I realized
that maybe not everything needs to happen in 2020 and that I needed to stop
focusing on achieving my goals at the end of the year and instead focus on the
habits that would allow me to achieve my goals. It was a relief to break my
goals down into simple habits, rather than constantly feeling that what I
wanted to achieve was impossible.

Thinking
others might feel the same way, my sister and I immediately began researching the
topic and decided it would be the theme of the month for our Roos&Shine podcast. And, after all I
work at FranklinCovey, (The
7 Habits of Highly Effective People
)and habits are an area of expertise
for me and a subject in which I have been interested in for a long time. I want
to deliver much more than just an inspirational keynote or workshop. I want to
help my participants to build and sustain the habits they need to make a
difference in life.

So
here are a few things you may to consider, so your habits stick in 2020:

It’s
a myth that it only takes 21 days to form a habit. That theory came from a
plastic surgeon in the 50s (Maxwell Maltz), who noticed that it took his
patients about 21 days to get used to seeing their new face. Then, he studied
his own adjustment period to make changes and acquire new behaviors. He noticed
it took a minimum of 21 days for a behavior or habit to dissolve and a new one
to stick.

But, more recent studies show that it takes more than two months before a new habit becomes automatic, even though it can vary widely, depending on the habit, the person and the environment. This is reflective of I see in both my clients and myself.

For
example, I have my own struggle with finding time for writing. And, as you may know,
I released a book this October with my two co-authors, Everyone
Deserves A Great Manager
. And, I have so many ideas for new books that my initial goal was
to write my next book this year. But my life is more intense this year than
last year and it only took a few weeks into the new year before I felt like a
failure and that I would never achieve my goal. So, I decided to change my
perspective. Rather than focus only on achieving that goal, I thought of my
mantra, “Inspired Focus,” and decided I will make time for writing in my weekly
schedule.

Additionally,
I also reviewed some of my favorite authors on the subject of “habits.” And, one
of those “habits gurus” is James Clear, the author of Atomic
Habits
.
He gives us five steps to use to make our habits stick, which were very helpful
to me and I hope they are to you:

  1. Make it so small you can’t fail. I reviewed my week and realized there was not
    much time to designate for writing. I decided I would be able to fit in three
    hours per week (I can always use an early morning Uber drive to the airport for
    some quality writing, such as now!).
  2. Apply the compound effect to your habits. While some authors spend far
    more than three hours per week to write, three hours per week is still 156
    hours in a year. So rather than thinking that three hours will not make a huge difference
    in achieving my goal, I could see the compound effect of those hours. Apply the
    idea to saving money. If you had begun 10 years ago to set aside a small amount
    in your savings account, imagine what your balance would be now. Then, it seemed
    too small to make a difference. But now, it would make a huge difference.
  3. Break big habits down. A block of three hours for writing might be difficult to squeeze
    into hectic week. But if I break it down into smaller pieces, such as six
    sessions of 30 minutes, it’s not so overwhelming and it’s easier to get into my
    calendar.
  4. Never miss twice. Have you ever tried to start a new habit and failed, even in the
    first week? I have! And, it’s ok if I miss one 30-minute writing session,
    because I have not failed, yet, to reach my end goal. But I don’t want to skip
    two sessions in a row. As my old middle school teacher, Mrs. Anja, used to say,
    “Once is nothing, twice is two times too many.” She said that usually in
    reference to mischiefs we made. But still. Same principle.
  5. Be patient and find a sustainable pace. Life is not a sprint. It’s
    a marathon and you are in it for the long run, which means it’s important to
    have a long-term perspective. Forget the “2020 beach diet!” You want to feel
    and look good not only this year, but throughout your life! And, as it relates
    to my writing goal, many authors release their best work much later in life.
    Everything does not happen right now, I have many more exciting years to learn,
    to grow and to write!

Well,
that deep breath I took made all the difference. I revisited my goals and
identified what it would take for me to achieve my goals. I reviewed all my
important roles again (mother, wife, facilitator, author, podcast host, friend,
taking care of myself), and quickly realized that all the things I needed to do
in order to achieve all my goals would not fit into my calendar, unless I cut
out sleeping all together. I reminded myself that life is not a sprint but a
marathon. I don’t need to make it ALL happen in 2020. Once I revisited my goals,
it was easier to identify what habits I needed to practice on a weekly basis to
achieve my goals and how to fit them into my schedule. And yes, it’s still a
pretty packed week for me. But there is room for the 5 Energy Drivers from Everyone
Deserves a Great Manager
, (see blog and listen to podcast), as I know I will not make
anything happen without them. Determined to keep the habits, I will achieve my
goals in 2020. And, you can too!

To
listen to the episode on habits, go to https://www.roosandshine.com/50-how-to-make-your-new-habits-stick-the-proven-research/

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